MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — The bodies of three people who were missing for more than a week were found on Thursday in garbage bags located inside a hollow tree.
The discovery of Tina Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody Maynard, 11; and a friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41; was made at about 2:30 p.m. near the North Branch of the Kokosing River Lake, near Waterford Road in Fredericktown, Ohio, 10TV news reported.
The three were reported missing last week, along with Kody's 13-year-old sister, Sarah Maynard. On Sunday, authorities found Sarah Maynard alive, bound and gagged, inside a Mount Vernon man's basement.
The man, Matthew Hoffman, 30, was arrested and charged with Sarah Maynard's kidnapping after authorities swarmed his Columbus Road home, 10TV News reported.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said that Hoffman provided information to authorities on Thursday that led them to the bodies.
Barber would not speculate on how the bodies were placed in the trees but said Hoffman previously worked as a tree trimmer.
"As elated as we were when Sarah was rescued, the tragedy today is just devastating," said Knox County prosecutor John C. Thatcher.
Neither Thatcher nor Barber would say whether Hoffman confessed to the crime.
According to Thatcher, an indictment against Hoffman was being prepared against Hoffman and the case would go to a grand jury. Hoffman is being held under $1 million bond on the kidnapping charge.
Barber said that families were notified about the discovery of the bodies a short time after they confirmed the victims' identities.
"We're a small community here," Barber said. "We became close to the victims' families. We have to as much take care of the survivors as we do with the victims, and that's what we've done ever since (the investigation) started."
According to Barber, the slayings occurred inside Herrmann's home, about 20 miles away from where the bodies were found.
Hoffman is scheduled to appear for a preliminary court hearing on Tuesday. An indictment against him could be within 4 to 6 weeks, Thatcher said.
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